We are excited to introduce a new member of the Continuing Education staff, Blaise Mitsutama. You might recognize Blaise if you’ve taken one of her classes in the Technical Writing program or attended the open house. She is new to our staff, but not entirely new to Continuing Education.
Blaise has been an instructor for the Technical Writing program, and recently started working as an LMS Administrator and Instructional Designer. Her position supports our programs at Continuing Education by finding new ways to better deliver our offerings for all students. Learn more about Blaise Mitsutama in this Q&A:
Why did you choose to work at Bellevue College Continuing Education?
Lifelong learning has been described as:
… [T]he “ongoing, voluntary, and self-motivated” pursuit of knowledge for either personal or professional reasons. Therefore, it not only enhances social inclusion, active citizenship, and personal development, but also self-sustainability, as well as competitiveness and employability.
Bellevue College Continuing Education is a community of lifelong learners. This applies as much to faculty and staff as it does to our students. At Continuing Education, I feel there is a relentless push to be excellent, effective, and open to new ideas and opportunities. This is demonstrated in its commitment to incorporate eLearning best practices as well as innovative programs in augmented and virtual reality, e-commerce, healthcare solutions, translation and interpretation, and to learners from teens to seniors. Continuing Education is where I believe my contributions will have impact and make a difference. (Lifelong Learning, Wikipedia)
What is your educational background and experience?
I graduated from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles with a BA in Social Studies (emphasis in Anthropology and International Relations). One of the best learning experiences I had in college was being an exchange student in Japan for a year. Each student lived with a Japanese host family, and attended classes (in English) at Waseda University. For most of my life I have been an autodidact, delving into whatever field of study draws my interest. I mastered microcomputers and database programming before courses in these subjects were included in college curricula, and have been fascinated and engaged in technology ever since.
In 2014, I started teaching technical writing at Bellevue College Continuing Education, which led to my collaborating with another instructional designer to revamp the Technical Writing Inclusive online course. As a neophyte instructor, I discovered workshops available through Faculty Commons to actively develop teaching skills, classroom management, use of educational technology, and accessible learning. In a relatively short time, I was developing and/or delivering workshops on accessible technologies, copyright, and how to use Canvas. In 2016, I worked on a pilot project to develop template-based online Direct Transfer Agreement courses, and subsequently took on the role of facilitator for the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Faculty Cohort.
What are you most excited about in your new position as LMS Administrator & Instructional Designer?
Education is changing. Not only are there new models and methods, there is also greater competition. MOOCs, online training companies, bootcamp-style schools, developments in education technologies, and a shift in focus from traditional degrees to competency-based learning are siphoning students away from brick-and-mortar colleges and universities. In addition, increasing traffic, tighter schedules, and personal commitments make it challenging, if not impossible, for people to take advantage of classroom training for professional development, job search, or career change.
As the Interim LMS Administrator/eLearning Instructional Designer, I’m excited to expand our online and hybrid offerings, and to create more options for more students to learn at Continuing Education.
What opportunities do you see for Continuing Education in your area?
Online and hybrid competency-based learning is a huge opportunity for Continuing Education. We have a lot of content that is currently classroom-based that can be expanded to a wider audience, if it is made available online. Also, it isn’t enough to simply add course content to Canvas. Instructors will need training and support to navigate online and learn how to engage students they can’t see and who are connected to the course asynchronously.
How do you plan to best serve the Bellevue College Continuing Education students and community?
I will have served Continuing Education students, instructors, and community by answering the following questions:
- How do we prioritize the courses that should be online or hybrid?
- How do we design courses to be accessible, engaging, and support student success?
- How do we create and implement processes, resources, and tools that give instructors and students the information they need in and about online and hybrid courses?
- How do we make information and resources for online courses discoverable and accessible?
- What can we do better?
What does lifelong learning mean to you? And why?
I included a general definition of lifelong learning in my first comment. But more personally, lifelong learning means never losing the childlike curiosity that sees the world as a place of endless possibilities, fascination, and discovery.
Last Updated September 12, 2017